One of the last of the valley’s old-time ranchers passes away
November 30, 2009
EMMA – One of the valley’s oldest natives and a link to the days when ranching ruled the Emma area died earlier this month.
Freda Glassier farmed and ranched for virtually all of her 93 years. She died Nov. 21 in the ranch house where she lived on Hook Spur Lane for 61 years.
Glassier is remembered by friends and family as a hard-working woman who was content with a simple life. She spent her entire life in the midvalley, first working on her family’s ranch, then marrying the boy next door and establishing her own farm and ranch.
“She’s one of the last of the old-timers,” said Janice Duroux, who grew up on a ranch adjacent to the Glassier’s property and is an unofficial historian of the midvalley. “She ran the ranch. She was very capable and smart.
“She was a one-of-a-kind lady.”
Freda’s husband Fred Glassier died in 1991, but Freda stuck with what she knew best. She ran cattle until age 84.
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Even as the landscape around her ranch changed, Glassier was content at her home, according to her granddaughter Temple Glassier.
“She didn’t notice the changes. Grandma left the ranch for two things – the grocery store and to get her hair done,” Temple Glassier said.
In an era where the local food movement is picking up steam and there is a renewed interest among some people to do more for themselves, Freda Glassier was a model of self-sufficiency. She had an impressive garden until her mobility decreased in recent years. She lived simply and everything revolved around her attractive brick ranch house.
“The one thing that grandma gave me the most – she earned everything she had,” Temple Glassier said.
In an article in The Aspen Times marking her 90th birthday in 2006, Freda shared a 1963 picture of the vast potato fields she and Fred worked at the base of the Crown to the south of their house. They worked hard to produce 100-pound bags of potatoes to sell for 4 to 5 cents per pound.
Freda’s maiden name was Vasten. Her parents were part of the vast Italian network that immigrated to the Roaring Fork Valley from the Val d’Aoste area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her parents were married in 1915 and Freda was born a year later on a rented ranch in Emma. Her parents soon acquired their own 160-acre ranch.
She recalled learning to drive when she was 13 or 14 years old because her dad got frustrated with the family’s first car. It wouldn’t stop as quickly as a horse when he yelled “whoa,” she had explained.
Freda married Fred Glassier in 1934 and 14 years later they moved to the house where she died. The obituary prepared by the family said Freda died in her favorite chair looking our her favorite window. Temple Glassier said Freda and her family knew she was nearing death. She wanted to die at her cherished home.
“That was very important to her,” Temple Glassier said.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs.